Emily Trapp is serving as the keyboardist/vocalist in the Youth Worship Team at the 2015 Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City. She just completed her Masters of Arts degree in Music (Piano) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and previously obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Music (Piano/Piano Pedagogy) from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. She currently teaches piano full time at Northland Cathedral School of Music and serves as a rehearsal accompanist/worship soloist at Blue Ridge Boulevard United Methodist Church, both located in Kansas City. To continue the conversation or get in touch, visit her website at www.emilymtrapp.com.
I believe that my first clear image of who God is was shown to me when I was at summer camp in central Oregon. He was in the nature, the music, the fellowship, and the unconditional love that I felt while I was there. Even though it wasn’t the “Kodak moment” that we all wish we could have, it seemed to just…click.
When I was making my decision on where to attend college, I knew I wanted to find a liberal arts school that was Christ-centered and had a good music department. I found home at Goshen (Indiana) College with hundreds of loving, incredibly talented, four-part-harmony-singing Mennonites who taught me more about myself than I could’ve ever imagined. I was intrigued about this “Convention” that happened every other year after hearing that it included awesome worship music with Jeremy Kempf, great workshops and talks, spending a week in a fancy hotel with a bunch of your friends, and exploring a new city. Although I was excited about exploring this opportunity, I was worried that I would be excluded from attending because I wasn’t raised in the Mennonite Church and felt nervous about trying to fit into a social setting that I couldn’t identify with. I didn’t have a Mennonite Youth Fellowship group, church congregation, or pastor to guide me through an experience as monumental as convention sounded.
God had a different plan. In 2011, I traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a photojournalist for the daily Convention newspaper, where I saw the week’s activities through my camera lens. It was nothing short of what I had been told about convention: people’s lives were changed through the Spirit of God in worship, fellowship, peace-building, and discussion of heated topics in the church. I felt refreshed and amazed by the way the Spirit moved in Pittsburgh.
I had the honor of returning to convention at Phoenix 2013 as a member of the youth worship band on keyboard/backup vocals with Jeremy. It was one of the best weeks of my entire life. Sharing worship with a room full of nearly 3,000 people gave me goosebumps (and still does just thinking about it). I couldn’t be more excited to be returning to convention this summer in Kansas City, again on the youth worship band – marking my third Mennonite convention to date.
Convention isn’t just for Mennonites, or at least I believe it shouldn’t be. Looking back on my past experiences has helped me realize that convention can become meaningful and memorable for anybody: even our non-Mennonite friends. Although they may not join us, I challenge you to spread the same energy, spirit, love, and excitement we all get to share for an entire week together with them. God may be revealed to them the same way he was revealed to me at camp: although not picture-perfect, undoubtedly present. I can’t wait to see where it leads them.
So, while we rock and cry and dance together at youth worship, know that I am grateful for all of you. You have helped me more than you could ever know.